Pfizer Announces Migraine Drug Recall

Pharmaceutical company Pfizer announced on Thursday that it is developing new child-proof packaging for its migraine medication, Nurtec ODT, after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issued a recall alert due to safety concerns. The orally disintegrating tablets are prescribed for acute migraines and preventative treatment of episodic migraines in adults. The packaging, however, was discovered not to be child-resistant, posing a risk of poisoning if accidentally ingested by young children.

The recall affects 4.2 million Nurtec ODT 75 mg tablets sold in cartons containing one blister card of eight tablets. Despite the recall, no cases of injury or illness connected to the packaging have been reported. Pfizer acquired Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding in 2022 for $11.6 billion, which manufactured the drug. Biohaven updated the Nurtec packaging in late 2021 but did not test it for child resistance. Pfizer discovered this issue and initiated a test, pausing distribution when the packaging was found not to meet CPSC requirements.

To ensure child safety, the CPSC advises consumers to secure the recalled product out of sight and reach of children. Pfizer is offering a free child-resistant pouch for customers to store the medication while it works on the new packaging. In the meantime, pharmacists have been instructed to place the drug packet in a child-resistant vial before dispensing it to patients.

Pfizer has assured that there are no quality, safety, or health risks when the medicine is taken as prescribed for its approved use. In addition, the company spokesperson clarified that the term “recall” is used by the CPSC to describe any repair, replacement, refund, or notice/warning program and does not necessarily mean that consumers need to return the product.

Approximately 300,000 units of the recalled medication are still circulating, and pharmacies nationwide prescribed the medicine to patients between December 2021 and March 2023. While Pfizer’s stock (PFE) has dropped more than 21% since the beginning of the year, it held steady through Friday afternoon following the recall announcement.

The development of new child-proof packaging demonstrates Pfizer’s commitment to ensuring the safety of its products for all consumers. As the company moves forward with packaging updates, consumers are encouraged to secure their medication and continue to use it as directed, with the added assurance that there are no health risks when taken as prescribed.